Westmont Magazine Creating a New Professor
Rick Fogg ’93 and Josh Yager ’92 think they’ve invented a new profession. Rick calls it “trusted adviser”; Josh jokingly suggests “high-priced manservant.”
Their firm, the Anodos Group, provides a unique service to the well-to-do: expert advice that puts the needs of the clients first. For a flat fee, the partners solve a wide range of financial problems for a few families.
Unlike other advisers, who profit from selling financial products or increasing assets under management, the Anodos Group never benefits from the counsel they give. Since they don’t charge by the hour, they can devote sufficient time to complex issues without running up a big bill.
To help families preserve wealth, the Anodos Group advises them to develop their human, intellectual and social capital. That means encouraging them to assume responsibility for financial decisions, pursue education and participate in charitable giving, among other things. “It’s a popular myth that wealth brings abundant happiness and free time,” Rick notes. “But its demands can suffocate the opportunities for happiness it’s supposed to offer. We relieve this burden so clients can pursue their genuine interests.”
Josh and Rick opened their Santa Barbara office in spacious, tiled rooms above El Paseo Restaurant in January 2005. Fellow alumnus Louis Baker ’96 joined them a little later in a second office in Orange County.
A certified financial planner who spent 13 years with Mercer Global Advisors, Josh had an epiphany one day: It’s better to do a lot of work for a small number of people. “I had a lot of clients with problems the specialized advisers couldn’t solve,” he says. “They weren’t in a position to take a big view, and they didn’t have time for complex issues.” Josh went to law school and passed the bar trying to help clients; founding Anodos turned out to be the answer.
Rick developed a similar perspective. After attending law school at the University of Washington, he practiced business and real estate law for six years at Mullen and Henzell in Santa Barbara. He left to become in-house counsel for one of his wealthy clients, working just for him for a year. At that point, Rick took on a few other clients as well; the Anodos Group was a logical next step.
Louis worked at Mercer with Josh and later for Cruttenden Roth and Merrill Lynch, focusing on real estate investment and financial planning. When he created Charles Property Group, a real estate, investment and property management company, he recognized the need for the Anodos Group. Rather than becoming a client, he joined the firm to contribute his expertise.
The three alumni employ an assistant from Westmont: Ryan Wolfshorndl ’05. Josh and Rick met the talented economics and business graduate by teaching classes at the college. They even met their wives at Westmont: Rhonda Verhoeven Yager ’93, Shelley Johnson Fogg ’94 and Jill Miller Baker ’97.
To recognize the college’s role in shaping their thinking, their careers and lives, the Anodos Group is funding an endowed scholarship “As we grow, we want to be able to hire the best graduates,” Rick says. “So we want to make sure the best students get to attend.”